Edwin is a small cog in a large publishing company. He spends most of his time editing or vetoing manuscripts sent to him by wannabe self help gurus. He comes across one which claims to offer everything from wealth to love. His first instinct is to bin it with the rest but then he has to come up with a manuscript at the last minute and he decides to try and get it back. The book becomes an instant hit. The publishing company can barely keep up. Worse yet the book works. So what's the worst that can happen? Industries collapse as there is now no demand for alcohol and cigarettes. People only shop to by Happiness and Happiness products. Help organisations are no longer required. And poor Edwin is blamed for it all. Edwin has to hunt down the author and convince him to take it all back.
I dislike self help books with a passion which is probably why I found this book so funny. It pokes fun at the whole self help industry and our societies obsession with it. Edwin's wife is a prime example of someone who tries a new self help regime every day. It takes over her life and the life of Edwin. Will Ferguson is a very funny writer and this book did have me laughing out loud. He also wrote one of my favourite travel writing books "Hokkaido Highway Blues" which I found to be equally funny. This however is his first book of fiction. I highly recommend it. If you are planning a trip to Canada the author has also written a few guides of his native country. I imagine they would be just as funny.
Richard Novak is having a mid life crisis and it starts with incredible pain. He lands himself in an emergency room and from then his life changes. Just sitting in the waiting room he realises he hasn't had to leave his house for a month and his whole life is planned for him right down to his every meal. On the way home from the hospital he stops at donut shop. As well as getting a donut he befriends the owner of the shop. In a supermarket he befriends a depressed and unappreciated housewife. While trying to save a horse he befriends his famous neighbour. It doesn't stop there. He even realises he pushed his son away and lets him back into his life.
The book looks to me like a self help book. The very title gives that impression but it isn't. I have people criticise the title. They believe that it doesn't match the book. I completely disagree. This book tells you what can happen if you let people into your life and gives a bleak view of what can happen if you isolate yourself from everyone. This book is both funny and sweet. It is about friendship and family. Definitely worth a read.
This is the last in the Otherland series. The series itself is about a group of rich and powerful people who use the net to prolong their lives. In this future the Internet is more of a virtual reality. These people wish to download themselves onto the net so that they can live on while their bodies die. Jongleur is the brains behind it all. The problem is that children are falling into comas to feed this system. A group of people log on to the net to find out what happened to their loved ones. They no longer have the power to remove themselves from it and so they have to travel through it in order to save themselves and their loved ones. In this volume all the friends have been separated again. Jongluer is with one group and they have no choice but to travel with him. A mad serial killer has taken over the system and is using it to satisfy his evil and sadistic side. The friends have some outside help but for the most part they must keep going until the end and hope that the worlds don't break apart until they do.
I have been reading this series for years. It is one of those ones that you can pick up and mostly know what is going on. I had been talking about it with a friend and she was at the same stage with it as myself and it encouraged us both to get the last book and finish it. My personal opinion is that it dragged on for too long. At one point I thought all the loose ends were never going to come together. So much of it was unnecessary. I am glad I finished it though and some of the explanations were ones that I would never have guessed.
Iris is a young independent woman living in Edinburgh. One day she gets a call asking her to get in touch about a woman called Esme Lennox. This woman is claimed to be her great aunt. Iris doesn't believe it at first. She has never heard of this woman. Her grandmother was an only child. She goes and collects her anyway and takes her to her home. Meanwhile Esme is having flashbacks. She is thinking back to her life with her parents and sister. Thinking back to all of the events that lead to her being abandoned in an asylum for 60 years.
I wasn't expecting much from this book and was pleasantly surprised by it. It is told in the point of view of three people Iris, Esme and Kitty who has Alzheimer's. It's amazing how much this works especially the ramblings of an Alzheimer's patient. And while you can guess the reasons for Esme being abandoned by her family there are other things which were still unexpected. It's a sad story with an unexpected twist at the end.
Timewarden, thanks for the info on Paul Cornell's book. In this case it is a bit different. If I want to read this book I have no option but to read it online. If I had a choice though I would always chose the paper version.